Brussels festival cancels Beenie Man’s appearance

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Organisers of the Belgian Couleur Cafe Festival, held annually in Brussels, have cancelled their invitation to openly homophobic Jamaican Dancehall singer Beenie Man.

According to a Flemish gay rights group, their efforts to have the controversial singer removed from the bill were supported by Amnesty International. Initially, gay website LaLucarne and the Brussels region secretary for equal opportunities, Bruno Delille, protested to the Belgian senate to no avial. But following a letter from Amnesty and a Facebook protest group which swiftly attracted 1,600 members, the campaign gathered speed.

In a meeting last night, the festival sponsors made the decision to cancel Beenie Man’s appearance. According to Flemish gay rights group WISH, following the decision a press release was issued by the festival organisers “blaming gay rights groups and casting themselves in the role of the victim.”

Beenie Man, whose real name is Anthony Moses Davis, has become notorious for his songs which advocate violence and hatred towards gay men and lesbians.

Some of his better-known lyrics include the line “I’m dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays.” Another of his songs suggests lesbians should be hanged.

This latest cancellation comes hours after the Dutch Parkpop music festival removed Beenie Man from their line up.

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